March 31, 2010

How do you organize your recipes?

I don't have a good system for recipe collecting.

In fact, my "system" consists of a cookbook stuffed with loose recipes that I've printed from the internet or written out by hand. The more recipes I keep, the harder it is to close the book because of all the paper inside. This obviously isn't working so well.

Last year, I bought a plastic accordeon file folder at Staples. I planned to use it to organize all those loose sheets of paper. That never happened.

I recently read an interesting post about recipe-organizing software. The writer actually designed her own software because the ones she tried didn't work for her.

I'm not sure I could ever use a computer model for all my recipes. There's something so tactile about reading a recipe on a page and keeping it stored in a book.

Ideally, I'd love to be organized enough to create a large recipe scrapbook, where I could paste recipes I'd printed from the internet or collected over the years. I think this would create a lot more memories than online software.

I'd love to do a feature story for CBC about the new ways people are organizing their recipes with software. From my preliminary research it looks like there are a lot of programs out there. Some of the more popular ones are MacGourmet, Living Cookbook, and Mastercook.

How do you organize your recipes? I'd love to hear what your systems are. If you don't mind me contacting you for my radio story, leave your website info or send me a quick email.

March 26, 2010

Vancouver eats


A real, live diner, right down the street from our hotel. The Templeton serves burgers, breakfast and deep-fried Mars Bars in a retro 50s room lined with booths and swivelly counter schools. Complete with jukeboxes on every table and an old-fashioned milk machine.



Bandidas Taquiera is an adorably funky/grimy taco shop on Commercial Drive. I ate fresh corn tortillas topped with a fabulous mix of guacamole, sweet potato, red cabbage and pumpkinseeds. J had a butternut squash enchilada with soy cheese that actually looked and tasted like cheese. Cheap and delicious.


Late-night tapas at a dark, cozy Spanish cafe. The comfort of talking with an old friend who I hadn’t seen in far too long. The fabulous combination pictured above: manchego cheese with quince paste. Stingy on the walnuts though.


Nuba Cafe, Another find near the hotel. (Despite my extensive restaurant searches, many of them were pretty far from where we were staying and not worth the effort). This cute, casual Lebanese cafe had excellent food at a good price. Here are my remnants of a falafel sandwich and tabbouleh. I also had a shortbread cookie stuffed with ground pistachios: like baklava in cookie form. We came back a few days later for amazing hummus and crispy caulifower with tahini sauce.


Late-night eats at The Naam in Kitsilano. This 24-hour vegan hotspot was recommended by my sister and a fave of our newly-transplanted Vancouver friends Elliott and Eva. They took us here to dine on ginormous servings of rice bowls, sesame fries, and veggie burgers, all topped with a large amount of sprouts and julienned vegetables.  The evening passed in a fabulous blur of wine-induced eating and talking.




Granville Island Public Market, full of produce stands, food stalls, and interesting shops. Not quite as large or diverse as the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto (which I realize I never wrote about here), but still lots of fun. I bought Thai red rice at a wonderful Asian foods shop, and we went a little overboard with homemade donuts at Lee’s Donuts. Chocolate donut with thick mint icing = sugar overload. Especially at 11 o’clock in the morning.


Guu, one of Vancouver’s many Izakaya restaurants. Izakaya are Japanese bar-restaurants that basically serve Japanese fast food. Traditionally, they’re a place to go drink after work and enjoy some good food while you’re at it. It’s a fun, loud atmosphere, with the cooks and servers shouting hello and goodbye to you in Japanese as you enter and exit. They also yell out every dish as the order comes in and goes out. We went here for supper and sat at the bar. It was fascinating watching the chef in front of me cooking. She moved from the cutting board to the deep-fryer to the broiler to the sink in smooth motions. Spreading thin pieces of beef across what looked like a cookie-cooling rack to stick under the broiler, then pulling dumplings from the deep-fryer to plate with a squeeze of mustard sauce. The chef next to her swirled sauce in a flaming wok, then turned around and picked up two heavy wooden lids resting over a rectangular basin, dipping into the vat of broth to fish out large pieces of meat, vegetables and fish bobbing there. I could have sat there watching for hours. Despite an unfortunate incident with some bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms (the texture just wasn’t doing it for me), the food was great. We came back a few days later for lunch, and the atmosphere was definitely more subdued. The chicken and rice bowl, however, was delicious.


So there you have it. Five days of Vancouver eats. There were many places I wanted to go but couldn’t, and you may notice a conspicuous lack of sushi. We did have sushi once, and it was good, but nothing remarkable. Next time there will be more. We both agreed: this definitely wasn’t our last trip to Vancouver.

March 9, 2010

To where the flowers bloom

J and I are off to Vancouver tomorrow, and to put it lightly, I am EXCITED. I've never visited Canada's West coast before, and we both need a vacation. It's going to be a relaxed few days of wandering and eating. And hopefully it doesn't rain the whole time.

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I have two food-related items on CBC over the next week that I wanted to let you know about. On Thursday morning on Edmonton AM, I'll review Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (it's the magic of radio! taping things and making them sound live!). Then, next Monday on my cookbook column on Radio Active, I'm talking about a local cookbook that has just won big: Kitchen Scraps by Pierre Lamielle. Pierre lives in Calgary and writes a food column for Swerve magazine. He's a chef-illustrator and his book is a unique, witty visual feast. It recently won Best Illustrated Cookbook of 2009 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards - good job Pierre!

I hope to return from Vancouver with some food tales. And I hope to actually share them with you this time, unlike my trip to Toronto. I always meant to write about some of the cool restaurants and cafes I visited, but time just got away from me. I'll try to do better this time.
Have a great week!